This Thursday, December 18, the New Jersey Assembly is voting on A3403, which would award more money to workers compensation attorneys at the expense of their injured clients.
“The Assembly needs to know that this bill benefits only attorneys and does nothing to help injured workers. This is a blatant cash grab by the trial bar and its only purpose to increase attorney compensation – money which comes directly from the injured worker’s payout,” said NJCJI President Marcus Rayner.
New Jersey’s existing workers comp law encourages employers to make prompt, good faith settlement offers to injured employees. If an employee decides to hire an attorney to sue the employer for additional compensation, the law states that the employee’s attorney is to be awarded fees based only on the portion of the award in excess of what was originally offered by the employer.
A3403 would instead base attorney fees on the full amount of the employee’s workers comp award, regardless of how much, if any, additional money the attorney was able to get their client. Attorney fees are deducted from the injured worker’s award, so the extra money going to attorneys under this bill is coming directly out of their injured client’s pockets! This is unconscionable.
“Workers who are injured on the job deserve to be fully compensated,” said Rayner, “and attorneys deserve to be paid for the work they do, but this bill goes too far. If this becomes law, attorneys will be involved in almost every workers’ compensation claim, which will increase litigation, drive up costs, and delay compensation.”
The New Jersey Civil Justice Institute is a statewide, bipartisan coalition of the state’s largest employers, small businesses, and leading trade associations advocating for a fair and predictable civil justice system in New Jersey.
Emily Kelchen, NJCJI Dir. of Pub. Affairs